‘GM workers in Luton should intensify their calls for a mass meeting to demand an immediate occupation,’ ex-Vauxhall convenor Arthur Lynn told News Line yesterday.
His call came in the wake of the collapse of talks in Berlin on Thursday, where Business Secretary Mandelson and German Economy Minister zu Guttenberg made it clear that Magna is no longer the preferred bidder and the ‘auction’ has opened up again for GM Europe.
Lynn added: ‘From what the union officials are saying, they are determined to push for a two-day week in an effort to keep the factories at Luton and Ellesmere Port open.
‘That is their only policy.
‘The plant manager for GM Luton has already told the workforce that he would not expect them to be able to live on two days pay a week.
‘This means that the Unite union leaders cannot be trusted to keep their members in jobs.
‘The only suggestion which came from the Unite official from Luton, Andy Faunighan, was that there should be a skills centre in Luton for any future employment.
‘He was backed in this by Mid-Beds Tory MP Andrew Selous.
‘This was after a meeting with Mandelson in Westminster on Wednesday.
‘The collapse of talks on Thursday in Berlin showed that the UK and German governments are playing for time, with bidding open to all again.
‘Workers have to take measures into their own hands.
‘They need to occupy and force a campaign for nationalisation.’
All Trades Unions Alliance (ATUA) national secretary Dave Wiltshire added yesterday: ‘Literally every day sees another twist in the saga of General Motors.
‘Today it now appears that from being the sole ‘preferred buyer’ Magna and its Russian backers have become just another potential investor along with Fiat and the Chinese.
‘The German government is chasing around doing deals that immediately fall apart and Mandelson is jumping up and down on the sidelines begging for scraps.
‘The only thing that is clear in this total mess is that none of these so-called rescue plans is going to save a single job in Britain or Europe.
‘These companies are only interested in the little meat left on the bones of GM none of their plans involve keeping the Vauxhall plants at Ellesmere Port or Luton open.
‘Meanwhile the leadership of the Unite union, Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, are peddling the line that their members must not rock the boat and ‘undermine’ the Labour government by making demands for the nationalisation of the motor industry.
‘The one policy that will safeguard these jobs, nationalisation, is rejected out of hand because Brown is against it.
‘For all the thousands who face losing their jobs and the prospect of never working again, what this Labour government wants and doesn’t want is of no importance, it is a government that is sinking by the day.
‘For the working class, the only way forward is through a general strike and replacing the Brown government with a workers government.
‘Factories and car plants must immediately be defended with occupations, while those union leaders who oppose this fight must be made to resign.’
Following the talks collapse in Berlin on Thursday, executives from Magna International are flying to London on Monday for talks with senior officials at the Department for Business.
Meanwhile it has emerged that in a speech on ‘the way forward for the European economy’, Mandelson said on Thursday: ‘I would argue that the next European Commission should take a tough approach to scrutinising national rescue packages, for banks, cars or anything else.’